Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring Training 2006 - Astros

On our first day in Florida for Spring Training in 2006, we went to see the Astros play the Braves at the Astros refurbished field in Kissimmi. As I mentioned the other day, my buddy Brian and I are both from Philadelphia but he now lives in Atlanta and I live in Houston. So we got to see our adopted teams play each other. The Astros were coming off their World Series year in 2005. The Braves won this game 10-6.

We got to the ball park at about 10:30 AM and had good access to the players as they warmed up and prepared for the game. I got balls signed by Astro's rookies Chris Roberson, Paul Estrada, Jonathan Ash, Charlton Jimerson, and Kody Clemens (Roger's kid). I also got ESPN broadcaster Peter Gammon to sign a ball. The big catch of the day was Lance Berkman. We had to wait for about an hour for him to finish his batting cage work, but he signed for us and about 6 other guys who had waited around. The guy to the right in the yellow shirt was an Astro's security guy who told us if we waited, Lance would sign.
Here's a pretty good shot of Roy Oswalt warming up for the game. My digital camera has a 10X optical zoom which got a good workout on the trip.
Jeff Bagwell was at this camp, his last as a player. He was coming off shoulder surgery and was not expected to play again. He made try at it, but announced his retirement before the season began. So this was my last opportunity to see him play. Here is a picture of the last thing I saw Bagwell do as a professional baseball player. He took a might swing but struck out.
After the game, Brian went to hang out near the Braves bus hoping to get lucky. He managed to get a ball signed by former Dodger great Don Sutton, who now does color on the Braves game broadcasts. I saw this guy and got his picture. He is baseball broadcast legend Milo Hamilton who does Astros games. He's been doing baseball games for over 50 years.

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